LOS ANGELES -- Hockey fever swept across Southern California over the last month as the Kings went from an eight seed on the cusp of missing the playoffs to the eventual Stanley Cup champions. Hockey fever was contagious and it extended to Dodger Stadium and many of the players on the team.
"I understand how hard it is to win in any sport and obviously the Stanley Cup is a huge deal and I'm very happy for the city and the Kings," said utility man Jerry Hairston, who scrolled through pictures on his cell phone to show a photo of him and the Stanley Cup after his hometown Blackhawks won the trophy in 2010. "I know it's been a long time coming. It was an unbelievable run for them."
L.A. hockey fans will get a chance to catch a glimpse of the Stanley Cup on Wednesday, when members of the Kings will throw out the ceremonial first pitch. The Kings will pose for a special team photo with both the Dodgers and Angels before Wednesday's game.
Over the past couple weeks, many fans came out to Dodger Stadium wearing Kings jerseys, and the stadium erupted when the final score of Monday's series-clinching victory was announced.
"You always want to be around winners and be around champions," said Hairston, who is arguably the biggest hockey fan on the team. "There's always that buzz in the air."
Hairston and his teammates are hoping that success is just as contagious as the hockey fever was. He noted how winning rubbed off in Boston a few years ago with the Patriots, Red Sox, Celtics and Bruins as a perfect example of that happening.
"Maybe it's L.A.'s turn. I'm hoping," he said. "We've got to take care of business. The Kings took care of business and I'm proud of them, but now it's hopefully the Dodgers' turn."
Stanley Cup champion T-shirts hung in all the players' lockers Monday night and there is a purple and black Stanley Cup trophy drawn on the team's white erase board in the clubhouse that tracked how the Kings were doing through the playoffs.
A.J. Ellis said there is a special bond between athletes in the same city and added that he jumped on the bandwagon after attending Game 3 against the Canucks in the first round at the Staples Center.
"It's rare to find a baseball clubhouse with anything on other than baseball," Ellis said. "But anytime the Kings were on TV, we were watching. We're proud of those guys and we are hoping it's a good omen for the city."